Back from Berlin, Mostly Sans Dignity

All right, all right, I admit it. At three am this morning, after finishing (more or less) some visualizations for our interview today, I crawled up the stairs. Steven, I am sure, would have given me an expression so stern that I immediately turned to dust, so chastised I would be for taking the easier route up. But honestly, after crutch-hopping through far too much of the airport, and then up the stairs to the flat here, I simply did not have the muscle strength left to propel myself up the stairs. I was the only one awake at three am, and I was concerned about hopping stairs without anyone to nearby in case of emergency.  So, I did the stairs on hands and knees.

Why yes, that was the very last of my dignity you heard, whizzing away in the night.

And if there was any left after that, it probably disappeared this morning, when I slid down the stairs on my butt like my siblings and I did when we were kids. After all, I had left my crutches at the bottom of the stairs at three am, so using them wasn’t really a hoption. (Pun intended!)

While, all in all, things could be a lot worse, I am somewhat astounded by how completely impossible it must be to have any kind of disability or mobility issue and survive in Europe. Catriona has ranted before about the amount of money that the European Union pours into smart home technologies for people with disabilities, when what would really be useful are handrails. Having now spent a few days on crutches, I could not agree more. (I agreed before, actually, but only in an abstract sort of way. Now I agree in a “Holy sweet Moses, how does anyone here MANAGE?!?” kind of way). Just getting in and out of the bathtub is an exercise in planning, ingenuity, and courage. Lots of courage. Never in my life have I hated the slick surface of porcelain quite as much as I hate it now.

I can actually feel my world shrinking. About the only cardio exercise I think I could do now is swimming, but the pool is a five minutes walk away, up a hill, and accessible only by stairs. I doubt, however, that I yet have the arm and back strength to move that far. I feel that I should be training to increase the distances that I can cover, but at this moment my arms are so shakey that I imagine such an endeavor ending with me on my face, probably rolling down a hill straight into traffic.

My newfound mobility restrictions have me craving stimulation in a way that I do not think I have ever craved it before. Last week, if I was bored, I took a walk. I went on a run. I went to the gym. All of these are no longer options, and as of this precise moment, I am too sore to move far from the sofa. I am going to get tired of looking at the living room. I am already tired of looking at my computer screen.

As a result, I do not think I have ever been so glad to see Will in my entire life. Will is the gorgeous biker friend of Aaron’s. Upon the first time I saw him, I commented to Aaron, “He’s pretty”. He has beautiful blonde dredlocks and an easy smile, and a fun English accent. Plus, he tells lots of stories about blowing things up on the farm when he was growing up (which, if there are any farmers in the audience, is why you should not allow your growing boy to play with your fertilizer, no matter how many tons of it you have lying around). We did the swapping of injury stories, and I showed him the damage (which isn’t so bad, just bruising and an ankle that is now completely unrecognizable as mine. I am taking this pretty well, considering how vain I am about my ankles, which are among my favorite parts of my body and would likely be the source of many an 19th century gentleman’s wet dream, so fair they are). He told me stories about biking injuries, including the time he paralyzed himself by tearing all of the muscles in his upper back. Then he and Aaron walked to the store and brought back a 1 kg chocolate bar, which was hilariously huge and which we contemplated trying to eat between the four of us in one sitting. (I only managed a few squares, but between Will and Aaron about half the bar got polished off.)

I hope people continue to come visit me so I do not go absolutely stir-crazy. (I can already feel the cabin fever setting in. In a few days, I am sure I will have progressed to wearing collander hats and leering crazily at people passing on the street.)

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Back from Berlin, Mostly Sans Dignity

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